The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has decided to withdraw its review petition against the Supreme Court’s verdict on the 2017 sit-in by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) at Faizabad in Islamabad, Aaj News reported on Wednesday.
The development comes a day after the Intelligence Bureau (IB) withdrew its review plea against the same judgement.
The withdrawal application by Pemra came just a day before the hearing of the review petitions.
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah will hear the petitions on September 28.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Ministry of Defence, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and politician Ejazul Haq are among the other petitioners.
The defense ministry, army, navy, and air force chiefs had been ordered by the judgment to discipline any members of their command who were found to have violated the terms of their oath.
It may be noted that the review petitions were not taken up during the tenures of the last three chief justices, namely, Asif Saeed Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed, and Umar Ata Bandial.
In November 2017, political parties including Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) protested and held a sit-in for nearly three weeks at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange.
They were protesting against a reversed change in the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017. The protesters demanded the resignation of then Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid.
In order to disperse the huge number of protesters, Islamabad police, with the help of Frontier Corps personnel and Rangers, launched an operation and used tear gas shells and rubber bullets. In retaliation, the protesters resorted to throwing stones at the security forces. Several people were injured while at least six people were killed during the clash.
The protest came to an end after the protesting parties and government reached an agreement. One of the agreement included the resignation of Hamid, which he later tendered.
Justice Isa, in his 2019 Faizabad dharna judgment, has written that the Constitution emphatically prohibited members of the armed forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which included supporting a political party, faction or individual.
“The government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective chiefs of the army, the navy and the air force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath,” read the 43-page verdict authored by the incumbent CJP Isa.
He stated that no one, including any government, department or intelligence agency, could curtail the fundamental right of freedom of speech, expression and press beyond the parameters mentioned in Article 19 of the Constitution.
“Pakistan is governed by the Constitution … obedience to the Constitution and the law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being in Pakistan,” he wrote in the verdict.